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Re: [casi] Iraq 'n 'Linguistics': Prescription for retiring Bush in 2004

On Wed, 25 Jun 2003 01:13:04 -0400 "ppg" <> writes:
>"Instead of marching against the government it might be >more effective
if 100,000 people showed up at the >doorsteps of the fourth estate."
>Of course. It has always been true. Just why no US >protesters, no US
campaign organizers have ever, EVER >figured this out is beyond me. If
someone has an answer >to this misdirection of effort, I would like to
hear it.

My best guess is that it's like watching TV over a period of months,
noticing the picture getting darker and darker, and calling the repair
guy, only to find out when he comes that the screen has been accumulating
dirt and just needed to be cleaned. People tend not to actually watch the
news, but to watch *through* the news, and assume they are seeing the
world. The media become transparent -- and unnoticed.

While out on a peace vigil I was talking to a young Bush fanatic, a
couple of days after one of the many "discoveries" of WMD. He brought it
up, but when I told him that the WMDs had turned out to be a barrel of
insecticide or whatever it was he protested that that couldn't be -- if
the allegations hadn't panned out he would have seen it all over the news
(he watched FOX). It never occured to him that the news might be biased
or the government could lie.

Similarly, I think the protestors sort of "know" the media is wrong, but
their attention is focused on the government. People tend to pay
attention to what the administrations say. We hear endless discussions
about what Blair says, Bush says, Rumsfeld and ad nauseum say -- but in
actuality what they *say* matters little beyond the effects of the
propaganda. Most people of the opposition just don't get that much good
information or realize just how profoundly warped the news media really

It's what they *do* that deserves attention. The *reports* of the deaths
and the tyranny in Iraq are just words; it's the actual death and tyranny
which matters, and the spin doesn't change that. But we all live in a
world of subjective mind and belief. I can't *feel* the keyboard I type
on; rather I feel my own skin and nervous impulses. I assume there is a
strong correlation between my senses and the keyboard. I can't feel the
pain of the Iraqis, but must make assumptions about the correlation
between the reports and the reality -- unless I go to Iraq personally -
and even then I get only a better picture, not the whole picture -- I can
make a better subjective judgement of what it's like to be trapped there.

This is really the prime philosophical foundation for self-government. No
one can decide for another people how they should best conduct their own
affairs (at least without giving most of the weight to their wishes)
because no one can live *their* lives. It doesn't work and causes

I'm crippled up with fibromyalgia and continually come into personal
contact with people who, often with the best intentions, decide what
*they* think is best for me and what I should do or not do (Frustrating!
I think of the US government "helping" the Iraqis like the US social
programs "help" the disadvantaged here, and shudder.) -- but hardly
anyone ever considers how their own perceptions -- their personal "news
media" -- distorts their ideas, or thinks to question their own
assumptions. Most everyone has personal experience with this sort of
distortion of views.

People concerned about Iraq are that much more limited. A massive fabric
of belief and perception has been woven around Iraq, but we tend to "look
at Iraq" and not "see" the fabric. We hear a report, and then hear
refutations or refinements, and think -- "Ahh -- now we are getting a
truer picture of what is happening", but rarely think about the process
of that reporting, and fixing that process rarely occurs to us -- we just
squint a bit more and try to compensate for it.

What is really needed are lot more plainly spoken first-hand reports from
Iraqi people in all areas of life there, and a lot fewer speeches from
the politicians and "news celebrities" who use Iraq just as raw material
to build their own careers and personal realities (they don't know
everything they tell you). When that sort of material becomes widely
available (maybe through the internet) then the people in the US and UK
will become less dependent on the "official experts" and deal with the
disparities. Until then "one doesn't think to clean their glasses if they
are trying to see through a dense fog".

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